When I was growing up, I remember that my dad was NOT a fan of the Berenstain Bears books because Papa Bear was such a doofus. My dad was very involved and capable and it bothered him to see fathers portrayed as bumbling idiots.
Since then, I’m always on the lookout for books with terrific fathers who are capable, loving, and engaged with their children.
These are some of my favorite picture books with wonderful dads!
11 Terrific Picture Books About Dads
Mitchell’s License by Hallie Durand
Mitchell suffers a common childhood problem – he desperately does not want to go to bed. Finally, his dad says that he’ll be a car and Mitchell can drive the car to bed. Mitchell thinks this is a fantastic plan and soon he’s the one pushing for bedtime! Of course, when Mitchell decides that the car needs gas (in the form of cookies – you can guess that the gas tank will be located on Mitchell’s face, not his dad’s), then the car takes on a mind of it’s own.
Hike by Pete Oswald
I LOVE this nearly wordless book of a small child and dad getting up early in the morning to spend the day hiking together. There are endless beautiful details to look at and the parent-child relationship is so tender.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall (also Jabari Tries)
Jabari goes to the pool with his dad and little sister. Jabari is READY for the high dive. Almost. But . . . . maybe he could use a little encouragement from his patient dad before he leaps into the water.
Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko
I can hardly read this book without crying. It’s fine. A little boy uses his small toy dinosaur to be brave when he feels scared. But when he loses that little dinosaur, only his dad is going to be able to help him.
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
I love Robert McCloskey (he’s most famous for his Caldecott-winning Make Way for Ducklings) and this darling story with black-and-white illustrations follows Sal (yes, from Blueberries for Sal) who is headed out with her father on his boat, is so sweet and fun from first page to last.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Zuri’s hair curls in every which way and she loves it! But when her dad steps in to do it, he has some things to learn. This is such a fun story of a daddy/ daughter relationship.
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
From the beloved author and illustrator of the Elephant and Piggie books, comes Trixie, Daddy, and Knuffle Bunny. When they all go on an outing to the Laundromat, things go hilariously and terribly wrong.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
You know that magical experience where a picture book, both through words and illustrations, pulls you into a new world? This book, about a little girl and her father riding his motorcycle through the streets of their Southern California community of immigrants, did just that.
Dandy by Amy Dyckman
Daddy Lion and his neighborhood pals are SERIOUS about their lawns. But then Sweetie Lion falls in love with a tiny dandelion growing in the yard and Daddy Lion has to decide what’s more important – his daughter or his lawn?
Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
I love Oliver Jeffers and this one he wrote for his own baby boy. It’s a welcome to earth and a guide for living with all the other people and things that share this world with you. It is MAGIC.
Little Wolf’s First Howling by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
Little Wolf has waited so long to go out with his father and howl at the moon. But when the big moment comes, it’s not quite a howl that emerges.
And if you’d like a printable copy of this books about dad list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!